North Korea has reopened its schools, but has opted to keep the ban on public gatherings, as well as making it mandatory that people wear masks in public places, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official stated on Wednesday.
North Korea has not confirmed any COVID-19 infections, but the country still took the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of its people.
The North Korean Ministry of Public Health has shared weekly updates with the WHO regarding the steps that it is taking to make sure the pandemic does not reach the country, stated Edwin Salvador, the WHO’s North Korea representative.
The latest update, which was provided on June 19, stated that the all educational institutions are now open, with the children having to wear masks, as well as several washing stations being installed within the schools.
Salvador also stated that 922 people have been tested so far, all of which have tested negative for coronavirus.
Hundreds of other people, mainly cargo handlers at the country’s ports and borders, have been quarantined on a regular manner for monitoring, to ensure that the pandemic does not reach the country.
Through email, Salvador said that “Temperature checks using infra-red thermometers, hand washing facilities and sanitisers continue to be in place in all public places including shopping malls, restaurants and hotels.”
He also added that wearing masks in public places is “mandatory”, with no public gatherings being allowed whatsoever.
The capital of North Korea, Pyongyang, had already prepared a “national preparedness and response plan” in February, according to the WHO’s recommendations, way before the pandemic reached its present heights.
In this plan, Pyongyang appointed community doctors, each being responsible for 130 households.
Salvador also stated that the capital also formed 235 “Rapid Response Teams”, including an epidemiologist, doctor, nurse, paramedical, as well as a livestock official, with these teams being tasked with investigating any proposed cases.
Salvador added that the WHO managed to provide enough supplies for the country to conduct 1,000 tests, as well as 2,900 personal protective equipment set to be used for precautionary measures. Healthcare workers are also being trained on how to tackle the COVID-19 threat.